• Monday, September 25, 2017

Tuscan Cuisine Recipes

Perfect Pedigree
By , Cooling Your Jets Contributor
February 22, 2012

With peasant roots, the beauty of Tuscan cuisine has always been its simplistic composure and rustic ingredients. No matter the setting – even inside the magical walls of the Castello di Velona – the origin of these dishes shine through. From bowls of bean soup to sweet braised rabbit, this issue of Cooling Your Jets stays close to the traditional dishes of the region. After all, why mess with perfection. 

Chicken Liver Crostini

Ingredients

4 tablespoons olive oil

1 small shallot, finely chopped

4 anchovy fillets

1 garlic clove, minced

12 ounces chicken livers

1/2 cup dry white wine

1 cup chicken stock

2 teaspoons flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped

2 teaspoons capers, drained and chopped

1 lemon, juice and zest

Kosher salt

Freshly-ground black pepper

1 French-bread baguette, sliced into 1/2 –inch rounds

Directions

Don’t knock it ‘til you try it. Creamy, salty and the perfect way to begin this rustic meal.

Serves 8-10

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 30 minutes

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot, anchovies and garlic and sauté until onions are translucent. Mash anchovies with a fork to incorporate. Add chicken livers and sauté until brown, about 5 minutes. Add wine and cook until the liquid evaporates. Add stock and simmer until the livers are cooked through, about 10 minutes.

Cool the mixture slightly and transfer to a food processor. Pulse until the livers are pureed and the mixture is coarse. Transfer to mixing bowl and fold in parsley, caper, lemon juice and zest. Season to taste and chill until ready to serve.

For crostini, preheat oven to 350°F. Place slices on baking sheets and brush with olive oil. Bake until golden, about 10 minutes. Allow crostini to cool. Spread pate on the crostini and serve.

Cecina

Ingredients

4 cups chickpea flour

4 cups water

1 tablespoon Kosher salt

Extra-virgin olive oil

Freshly-ground black pepper

Directions

With only a few ingredients, it’s hard to believe the amount of flavor in each bite of this chickpea cake. It’s great on its own, or dipped in a simple marinara sauce.

Serves 8-10

Prep time: 10 minutes (plus time for resting)

Cook time: 30 minutes

Place the flour in a large mixing bowl and slowly add in the water, mixing well so there are no lumps. Mix in the salt. Cover with plastic and allow to rest at room temperature for at least four hours or up to over night. 

Preheat oven 400° F. Stir the mixture again. Pour a small amount of oil into a large baking sheet to cover the bottom (something with a small lip – no higher than ¼-inch). Add the mixture and bake until the cecina is golden, about 30 minutes. Remove from oven and grind lots of black pepper over the top. Slice and serve warm. 

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Ingredients

2 cups dried canellini beans, soaked overnight

2 smoked ham hock

1/4 cup olive oil

1 small Spanish onion, chopped

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (8 ounce) can diced tomatoes

1 bunch escarole (or other bitter green like kale), blanched and chopped

4 cups chicken stock

Pinch red chili flakes

Kosher salt

Freshly ground black pepper

Directions

Probably one of the region’s most notorious dishes. Some recipes add sausage, but the cannellini beans are always the star of this understated soup.

Serves 4-6

Prep time: 1 hour (plus soaking time for beans)

Cook time: 20 minutes

Drain soaked beans and place in a large stock pot. Cover with water and add ham hocks. Bring to a boil and simmer until beans are soft, about 1 hour. Drain and set aside. Shred meat off ham hocks and set aside. In a Dutch oven heat oil over medium. Add onions and cook until translucent. Add garlic and cook 1 minute. Stir in tomatoes, stock, blanched and chopped kale and cooked beans. Bring to a simmer and allow to heat through. Add in ham and season to taste with chili flake, salt and pepper. Serve with crusty bread and a drizzle of olive oil on top. 

Pappardelle with Rabbit Ragu

Ingredients

 

1/2 cup olive oil

2 whole rabbits, broken down into 6 serving pieces (have your butcher prepare)

Kosher salt

Freshly-ground black pepper

All-purpose flour, for dredging

1 large Spanish onion, chopped

2 carrots, peeled and diced

2 celery stalks, diced

3 clove garlic, minced

1 (28-ounce) can diced tomatoes in juice

2 bay leaves

2 springs thyme

2 cups chicken stock

Pinch red chili flake

1 lb. papparedelle pasta

Parmesan cheese, for garnish

Directions

From rabbit to pheasant, game meat is common in Tuscan cooking. It’s often braised and paired with wide noodle pastas like papparedelle.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 45 minutes

Cook time: 1 hour

In a large Dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium. Season rabbit pieces with salt and pepper and dredge lightly in flour, shaking off excess. Add rabbit to pot and brown on all sides. Remove and set aside. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the same pot and allow to caramelize slowly. When vegetables are soft and golden brown add garlic, tomatoes, bay leaves, thyme, stock and rabbit. Bring to a boil and simmer until rabbit is cooked, about 50 minutes. Adjust seasoning and add red chili flake at the end if desired. When rabbit is close to done bring a large stock pot of water to the boil. Salt generously and add pasta. Cook until al dente. Drain and toss lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. To serve, place pasta in a large bowl and spoon rabbit ragu over the top, arranging all the rabbit pieces in the center. Top with grated Parmesan cheese. 

 

Florentine Baccala'

Ingredients

2 lbs. baccala, soaked for 2 days, broken into 2-inch pieces

4 tablespoons olive oil

Freshly-ground black pepper

1/2 cup dry white wine

2 (28-ounce) cans whole tomatoes with juice

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

Directions

Salt cod is cooked with tomato is pure Tuscan love. While it takes some time to soak the fish, the end result is worth it.

Serves 6-8

Prep time: 2 days

Cook time: 30 minutes

Place baccala in a large bowl and cover with water. Cover and refrigerate, changing the water twice a day for up to three days. Refrigerate until ready to use. Drain and break up into two-inch pieces. In a large, deep skillet heat olive oil over medium heat. Add baccala and brown on each side, about 4 minutes. Add white wine and allow it to evaporate. Add tomatoes and simmer for about 5 minutes. Season with pepper (no salt should be added) and stir in parsley. Serve warm. 

Sautéed Tuscan Kale

Ingredients

2 lbs. Tuscan kale, center ribs removed, torn into bite-size pieces

1/4 lb. Pancetta, diced

2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, sliced

Freshly-ground pepper

Kosher salt

Directions

Tuscan kale is much sweeter in flavor then its bitter curly cousin making it the perfect accompaniment in soups, pasta dishes, or all on its own.

Serves 6

Prep time: 10 minutes

Cook time: 15 minutes

Add kale to a large pot of salted boiling water and cook for about 4 minutes until wilted and tender. Drain well and set aside. Heat a large skillet over medium and add pancetta. Cook until brown. Add oil and garlic and cook until it just turns golden. Add kale and sauté until heated through, about two minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Stuffed Tomatoes

Ingredients

6 Beefsteak tomatoes

1/4 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped

1/4 cup basil, chopped

1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

1 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra for drizzling

1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt

1/2 teaspoon freshly-ground black pepper

Directions

It’s hard to imagine improving upon the simple appeal of a Tuscan tomato, but there is a way. Stuff it with cheese and breadcrumbs and bake to perfection.

Serves 6

Prep time: 15 minutes

Cook time: 20 minutes

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slice the tops off of each tomato. Scoop out the pulp and add to a mixing bowl. Combine the pulp, parsley, basil, breadcrumbs, cheese, oil, salt and pepper and mix well. Place the tomatoes inside a baking pan and fill each one with the pulp mixture. Drizzle a little olive oil on the top and bake for about 20 minutes until the cheese in melted. 

Red Wine Gelato

Ingredients

1 1/2 cups heavy cream

1 1/2 cups whole milk

1 cup sugar

6 ounces red wine

Directions

Montalcino is famous for its luscious red wine. While it’s excellent in a glass it’s even better in this homemade gelato.

Yields 1 quart

Prep/Cook time: 10 minutes (plus time for freezing)

In a medium saucepan, combine the cream, milk, and sugar. Bring to a simmer. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove from refrigerator and stir in the wine. Transfer to ice cream machine and freeze according to the manufacturer's directions.

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